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Plasma science and technology has tremendous, largely untapped potential for 21st century applications over the full range of energy, time, and spatial scales.
(fusion specific topics not included)

Major Topics

Plasma Equilibria, Dynamic and Static
Naturally-occuring Plasmas
Plasma Sheath Phenomena

Plasma Sources
Plasma Diagnostics

Plasma-based devices
Wave and Beam Interactions in Plasmas
Plasma Theory
Numerical Plasmas and Simulation
Industrial Plasmas
   Note: MHD = magnetohydrodynamics

Plasma Equilibria, Dynamic and Static
space plasmas, astrophysical plasmas
plasma flows and shocks (solar wind, collisionless shocks,astrophysical jets)
non-neutral plasmas (studies of unusual states of matter; fundamental physics)
strongly-coupled plasmas (crystallization, ordering, fundamental physics studies)
magnetic helicity and Taylor states (solar coronal loops, accelerated compact tori)

Naturally-Occuring Plasmas
space and astrophysical plasmas
ionospheres and magnetospheres of planets
solar and stellar winds, solar atmosphere
shocks, flux ropes, coronal mass ejections
interstellar medium, intergalactic medium, astrophysical jets
lightning, and ball lightning

Plasma Sheath Phenomena
spacecraft charging
rf heating
sheath dynamics
plasma ion implantation
plasma probe interactions

Plasma Sources
laser-produced plasma
beam-generated plasma
ion sources
plasma-generated electron sources (e.g., high-brightness electron sources for FELs)
electron cyclotron (for materials processing)
parallel plate discharges (for materials processing)
free electron plasma radiation sources
X-ray production (for lithography & materials testing)
rf sources, electron cyclotron, helicon, inductive (e.g., materials processing)
coherent microwave sources
arcs, both DC and pulsed (e.g., steel processing, welding, toxic waste)
ion engines for space propulsion
MHD thrusters for space propulsion
neutron production
active species production for industrial plasma engineering
one atmosphere gun and filamentary discharges

Plasma Diagnostics
ion and neutral beam diagnostics
spectroscopy (mass, photon) and imaging
probe measurements to determine density and temperature
scattering for remote sensing of density and perturbations
laser-induced fluorescence to determine distribution functions
laser transmission diagnostics (e.g., interferometry, polarimetry)
charged-particle spectrometers to determine distribution functions
magnetic field measurements
electric field measurements
neutral particle analysis
diagnostics at one atmosphere pressure

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Plasma-based devices
plasma opening switches
high-power switch tubes (thyratrons, ignitrons, klystrons)
pulsed power systems
plasma-based light sources
vacuum electronics
thin panel displays
relativistic electron beams (high-power X-ray sources)
plasma channels for flexible beam control
free electron lasers (tunable electromagnetic radiation)
gyrotrons (high-power mm wavelength)
backward wave oscillators
travelling wave tubes
helicon antennas
laser self-focusing
plasma lenses for particle accelerators
dense plasma focus or pinch plasmas for X-rays and beams
compact X-ray lasers
Cerenkov grating amplifier
photon accelerators
plasmas for incineration of hazardous materials
plasma armature railguns
electron cyclotron resonance reactors
gas lasers
arc lamps
torches and film deposition chambers
ignition and detonation devices
meteor burst communication
high-gradient accelerators for compact linear high-power light sources
plasma accelerators using relativistic space-charge wave

Wave and Beam Interactions in Plasmas
externally driven waves
waves as plasma sources
waves as diagnostics
waves as particle accelerators
beam instabilities (free electron lasers; gyrotrons)
parametric instabilities
wave-particle interactions
charged particle trapping
rich variety of waves for basic physics research (e.g., electron plasma, upper hybrid,
lower hybrid, whistler, Alfven, drift, ion acoustic, ion cyclotron, electron cyclotron)
ionospheric modification; active experiments in space plasmas
light ion beam/plasma interactions (e.g., Li diagnostic beams)
solar power satellite microwaves
nonlinear waves
turbulence, stochasticity and chaos (e.g., MHD, drift, Langmuir)
striation formation and transport

Plasma Theory
fundamental studies of many-body dynamics
fundamental studies of kinetic theory
fundamental studies of Hamiltonian systems
nonlinear systems; nonequilibrium systems
double layers
self-organization and chaos
fundamental links of micro-, meso-, to macroscale processes
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Industrial Plasma

  • Engines, Metallurgy
  • Catalysts, Spectroscopy
  • Transformers, Motors, Relays
  • Reactors, Isotopes
  • Transistors, IC's
  • Lasers, Flashlamps

plasma surface treatment
plasma etching
plasma thin film deposition (e.g., synthetic diamond film and high-temperature superconducting film)
ion interaction with solids
synthesis of materials (e.g., arc furnaces in steel fabrication)
destructive plasma chemistry (e.g., toxic waste treatment)
destruction of chemical warfare agents
thermal plasmas
isotope enrichment
electrical breakdown, switchgear, and corona
plasma lighting devices
meat pasteurization
water treatment systems
electron scrubbing of flue gases in coal or solid waste burning
ion beams for fine mirror polishing
plasma surface cleaning
electron beam-driven electrostatic fuel and paint injectors
sterilization of medical instruments
synthetic diamond films for thin-panel television systems
plasma chemistry (produce active species to etch, coat, clean and otherwise modify materials)
- low-energy electron-molecule interactions
- low-pressure discharge plasmas
- production of fullerenes
- plasma polymerization
heavy ion extraction from mixed-mass gas flows
deterioration of insulating gases (e.g., high voltage switches)
one-atmosphere glow discharge plasma reactor for surface treatmentof fabrics
(enables improved wettability, wickability, printability of polymer fabrics and wool)
laser ablation plasmas; precision laser drilling
plasma cutting, drilling, welding, hardening
ceramic powders from plasma synthesis
impulsive surface heating by ion beams
metal recovery, primary extraction, scrap melting
waste handling in pulp, paper, and cement industries
laser ablation plasmas
laser and plasma wave undulators for femtosecond pulses of X-rays and gamma rays
tunable and chirpable coherent high-frequency radiation from
low frequency radiation by rapid plasma creation
DC to AC radiation generation by rapid plasma creation
infrared to soft X-ray tunable free-electron laser (FEL)
optoelectronic microwave and millimeter wave switching
plasma source ion implantation (PSII)

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